On the flip side: volume 3

While it may not always get attention, weird, creative music is released every year.  Some of these albums bend the rules of their genres, while others throw the rulebook out entirely.  This column was created to introduce people to something that might be a little outside of their taste, but is still a rewarding listen.

Emotional storyline

Kevin Abstract- American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story

This new Kevin Abstract album is not perfect, it lacks a musical identity and a fourth of it seems like a Frank Ocean knock-off.  However, it also supplied some very sweet and melodic tunes with an interesting concept and story.  The instrumentals are gentle and beautiful and have a wide variety of influences, including al
ternative R&B, hip hop, indie rock and indie pop.

With his lyrics, Abstract details his crush on a football player at his school and the problems that comes with a family that does not accept his homosexuality.  The story dives into the emotional struggles of having a female cover-up and loneliness.  It reaches its peak when Kevin compares the way that his parents don’t accept him to how his boyfriend’s parents don’t accept him because he is black. Without giving away much more, the great story line and beautiful songs are what gives this album its appeal.

Old-school crime fighting

Czarface- A Fistful of Peril

Czarface, which is the collaboration of MCs Esoteric and Inspectah Deck with producer 7L, creates hip hop loaded with cartoony violence and superhero references over some boom-bap beats. Czarface manages to combine Wu-Tang Clan with MF Doom.  Between the gritty and complex beats that 7L made, which are full of grimy basslines and punchy drums, and the clever wordplay, Czarface is a refreshing sound to hear.

Although this may be their shortest project, it manages to be short and sweet, and it does not overstay its welcome in any way.   The simplicity of this album in its animated sound and smooth flows from the rapper make it a hip hop highlight.

RIP my headphones


Wormrot is a Filipino grindcore band, which combines punk with the nastiest that noise rock and thrash metal have to offer, and I like the way they manage to make an incredibly fast
and heavy sound without forgetting their punk influences.  This album has 20 songs, totaling 28 minutes, but this is a typical length for an album of this genre.

Each song builds a cacophonous wall of ear-shredding sound, made distinct by incorporating underlying guitar melodies and a variety of screams.  The vocals on this album range from low, guttural growls to high-pitched screams and yelps.  While this album is not for everyone, people who enjoy an abrasive audio experience will have tons of fun with this one.

TDE’s response to Slim Shady

Ab Soul- Do What Thou Wilt

Rapper Ab Soul manages to combine the wordiness of abstract rap with complete tastelessness in his lyrics, seasoned by some modern trap production.  The trap beats are nocturnal and moody, and some also create a syrupy-slow and spacey background for Soulo’s bars.  Soulo is incredibly crass on this album, but he masks those childish punchlines within excellent wordplay. This album is full of multiple lyrical contradictions, such as songs with feminist lyrics followed by misogynist lyrics in other tracks.

This is Soulo’s best attempt at making a more mainstream hip hop sound; he managed to be catchy and accessible while remaining obtuse and witty with his lyrics.  Soulo provides the best of both worlds with his dark, brooding trap instrumentals and the excellent flows and dense lyrical content.